Porto 1-0 AC Milan: Hosts earn a narrow win to compound the misery of Pioli’s side | UCL 2021-22

Zlatan Ibrahimovic-AC Milan

AC Milan were dealt a damaging one-nil defeat by FC Porto in the Champions League on Tuesday thanks to a goal by Luis Diaz at the Estadio do Dragao.

The Italian side, who came from two goals down to win against Verona in the Serie A over the weekend, needed a convincing performance to pick up a win in Portugal and keep their chances of qualifying in this group alive. But they could not repeat their weekend performance on Tuesday and ultimately fell to a devastating defeat that left their chances of entering the next round hanging on a balance.

The home team began the game as the more positive side and could have taken the lead early in the fifth minute, but Luis Diaz shot from the edge of the box could only come off the post.

The miss by Diaz was an early warning sign to Milan, who kept losing the ball in key areas of the pitch because of Porto’s high press.

But despite troubling their visitors with their energy and running, Porto could not take the lead in an uneventful first half that saw four yellow cards given to both teams.

After the break, Porto continued to dominate the game, fashioning two good chances within the first seven minutes of the restart only to be denied by poor finishing and a great Fikayo Tomori block.

However, the pressure paid off in the 65th minute when Luis Diaz pounced on a loose ball in the box to put the hosts ahead.

Milan tried to respond but could not muster more than one shot on target in the second half, while Porto remained resilient to snatch their first win in the group stages.

Porto given lifeline

After losing 5-1 to Liverpool, Sergio Conceicao’s Porto side looked like they were going to be Group B fall guys.

The Portuguese side would have cursed their luck when they were put in the same group with Liverpool, Atletico Madrid and AC Milan, three teams that are on paper better than them.

But a draw at Atletico in the opening game would have given them hope of survival before they succumbed to the aforementioned embarrassing loss to Liverpool.

However, this win against Milan would restore their belief and give them confidence that they could really qualify for the next round.

With Liverpool defeating Atletico in the other group fixture, the hosts end the night in third place only on goal difference. They will fancy their chances of picking up an excellent result when they travel to the San Siro next week.

Winless start for Milan

AC Milan are in real danger of elimination from the Champions League this season thanks to a poor record that has seen them lose their first three matches of a CL group for the first time in their history.

The Serie A side are one of the biggest names in Europe having won seven European titles, behind only Real Madrid. They are flying in their domestic league and are considered Inter Milan’s biggest rival for the scudetto this season, alongside Napoli.

But three games into the 2021/22 UCL season, they are staring at elimination and will need a miracle to even finish third and qualify for the Europa League.

The sooner they get back to winning ways in Europe, the better for them.

Back to the drawing board for Pioli

After losing his third straight UCL game, Stefano Pioli knows that he has to re-strategise.

His team have played well in minor spells, but have ultimately been undone by defensive errors and lapses in concentration. Against Liverpool, they conceded a clumsy penalty (although Liverpool issued the penalty), while they were guilty of ball watching, allowing Antoine Griezmann to steal a goal for Atletico Madrid the other time.

Against Porto on Tuesday, they were outworked and outran by their hosts and ended up conceding an avoidable goal due to bad defending.

Pioli has to find a way to cut down on these errors and get his team playing well in Europe if he does not want to be eliminated in the group stage round.